Ukraine estimates $35 billion in environment damage from Russia invasion

Ukrainian service members walk next to destroyed buildings, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, on Snake (Zmiinyi) Island, in Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released July 7, 2022. Press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Environmental damage in Ukraine caused by Russia’s invasion was estimated at around 36 billion euros ($35.3 billion), with millions of hectares of natural reserves under threat, Ukraine’s environment minister said on Monday.

One fifth of protected areas in Ukraine is at risk of destruction and about 2,000 cases of environmental damages have already been recorded, the environment minister, Ruslan Strilets, said, showing slides to European Union lawmakers at a hearing in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

According to estimates from the Ukrainian government, the bill from air pollution caused by the war in Ukraine is so far about 25 billion euros and another 11.4 billion euros are needed to address damage to soil.

Citing a new methodology developed by the Ukrainian government to calculate the damages, Strilets said the seven-month-old war alone had caused 31 million tons of CO2 emissions, roughly the amount produced by New Zealand annually.

He said another 79 million tons of greenhouse emissions could be produced for the reconstruction of infrastructure and buildings destroyed during the war.

($1 = 1.0201 euros)

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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